Author Notes: Quince is an autumn fruit, so now is the best time to look for them in the markets and prepare them in any ways you like. When cooked, the versatile quince is delicious. Because it’s full of pectin, quince is wonderful for making preserves, but can also be cooked with meat, roasted with chicken, duck or turkey and, of course, a quince dessert is a delight. It has an irresistibly sweet, floral, candy-like scent and is wonderful poached or slow roasted in syrup spiced with cinnamon and vanilla, and most of all I like how it turns a luscious shade, from deep pink to rich red; from rosy to ruby.
I often use the drained slices of fruit in a cake or tart; pair them with a piece of sharp cheese (blue cheese, or a firm sheep's milk cheese such as Manchego). My favorite autumn breakfast is quince compote over homemade fresh ricotta (photo #2) or a puff pastry Danish filled with cream or goat cheese and roasted or poached quince slices (photo #3). I also love to keep them for a couple days before cooking on a platter in my kitchen or living room, and they act as a natural home fragrance.
Makes some more then 1 pound of quince compote
- • 4 large or 5 medium Quince
- • 3/4 cup sugar
- • 1/2 cup fragrant honey
- • 1 cinnamon stick
- • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- • Peel and juice of 1 large lemon
- Place the quince in sink, cover with warm water, and rub them in the water to remove the fuzzy down on their skin. Rinse and drain; then place them in a large pan, pour water just to cover.
- Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook, uncovered, until barely tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. (This step will make a lot easier to peel and cut quince, which is a very hard fruit and also the skin will give you a very fragrant quince infused cooking liquid).
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Pour 2 cups of the cooking liquid into a wide heavy-bottom nonreactive pan; add sugar, honey, cinnamon, vanilla bean, lemon peel and juice. Bring to simmer stirring to dissolve the sugar and honey; then add the quince slices. Bring back to simmer, cover and transfer to the middle rack of the oven.
- Cook for about 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours, checking often and adding some more of the cooking liquid, if needed. I added twice 1/2 a cup, because I like to have and use the syrup. Serve warm or chilled and enjoy!
- Note: If fresh quinces are handled carefully and not bruised, they should last for months. Poached or roasted in heavy syrup, they will keep very well for a month to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe with Vanilla